Tuesday, January 29, 2013

That's About Right

Today, while driving home for lunch, I saw something that made me deeply homesick for Illinois, while at the same time it reminded me that Upstate South Carolina really isn't that different, in the end.

I saw, driving the other way down the highway, a teenager who might have been seventeen or eighteen years old. He was old enough to be out of high school, clearly, but only just. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt that I could have sworn looked just like an old Slipknot hoodie a friend of mine had once upon a time.

The kid was staring intently down at his cell phone, presumably at a text he had just received.

That's not the part that made me think of home.

What made me think of home was the fact that this cell-phone-obsessed teenage boy was driving a bright, eye-searingly blue old tractor, chugging along at maybe 20 miles an hour while angry drivers in angry cars backed up into a long, snake-like line behind him.

I waved at that kid. He had looked up from his phone long enough to check the road, and he waved back and grinned, with the easy outgoing way that small-town people have of assuming that even if they don't recognize your car, you're probably related to someone they know.

Then he looked back down at his phone.

I went on my merry way, and I thought...

Man, am I glad I'm not stuck behind that kid.

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